(South Bend, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints hockey team continued their recent surge over the weekend with a two game sweep of the Ice Birds of Illinois State. The sweep extends the Saints winning streak to 9 straight games, their most since they won 11 straight games during the 2010-11 season.
Game 1 (10/26/12)
The Saints returned to the ice Friday night after an extra week off with fall break. A slow start found the Saints down early 2-0 in the 1st period.
Senior Sean Root (Livonia, Mich.) and freshman Alex Haygood (South Bend, Ind.) answered for the Saints and got them tied up at 2.
Another goal for Illinois State had the Saints trailing 3-2 late in the 1st period until Drew Brodbeck (Stillwater, Minn.) answered for the Saints. The Saints went into the 1st intermission tied at 3.
After trading blows in the 2nd period, the Saints were tied with Illinois State at 5, and looked to gain a boost. The boost came from Alex Haygood (South Bend, Ind.) and Drew Brodbeck (Stillwater, Minn.) who both recorded hat tricks in the game.
Goalie Brad Hajec (Dearborn, Mich.) came in late during the 2nd period and did a great job of stopping every puck that came his way. Hajec finished the game playing the last period plus and recording 12 saves.
The Saints went on to win game one 7-5, and had 4 players with 2 or more points: Drew Brodbeck and Alex Haygood each had 3 goals; Jake Radde (Granger, Ind.) had 3 assists; and B.J. Kolcz (Marysville, Mich.) recorded 2 assists.
"Illinois State proved to be a pesky opponent for us," said Saint head coach Bill Schmatz. "We played very well offensively getting 52 shots, however, we let them hang around scoring 5 goals. Overall, our effort was strong as we've seen throughout the season. The guys showed the ability to dig deep, pull together, and finish the job."
Game 2 (10/27/12)
The Saints proved to dominate the 2nd game of the series in all facets. The offense was quick to strike once again, and goalie play proved to be too much for the Ice Birds.
Senior defenseman Shane Leo (A) (Austin, Tex.) got the Saints started with his 3rd goal of the season just before the end of the 1st period. The Saints went into the break with a 1-0 lead over Illinois State.
Freshmen B.J. Kolcz (Marysville, Mich.) and Alex Haygood (South Bend, Ind.) continued their impressive young campaigns in game two. Kolcz finished the game with a goal and an assist for two points (4 in the series) and Haygood added another goal following his 1st career hat trick.
Senior Sean Root (Livonia, Mich.) notched another goal on Saturday, his 2nd of the series.
The Saints would go on to get the sweep over Illinois State with a 4-0 win, their 9th consecutive win since their opening loss to the University of Louisville.
Brad Hajec (Dearborn, Mich.) got the start for the Saints and finished the game with an impressive 38 saves. The win for Hajec brings his season record to 5-1. Saturday's win was the 1st shutout for Hajec in his career.
"I thought in game 2 we played very well at both ends of the ice," continued coach Schmatz. "The team started and finished strong. Solid goaltending was also key. I thought Brad did a heck of a job."
The Saints will look to continue their winning ways with a home and home series with rival Indiana-University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). Friday's game (November 2nd) will be at the Ice Box at 9:15. The Saints will then travel to Fort Wayne for the final game of the series on Saturday.